The goal of capability development is to enhance national emergency management capabilities through the identification of gaps and the development then implementation of Australian Government initiatives to address these gaps.
The Attorney-General's Department continues to establish, fund and support several capability development activities, often in partnership with the states and territories. These activities are:
Australian Tsunami Warning System
This project provided funds to upgrade the Australian Tsunami Alert System to an operational, early warning system - the Australian Tsunami Warning System (ATWS). The ATWS project was jointly managed by Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Attorney-General's Department. The funding helped to establish the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, with 24/7 monitoring and tsunami analysis capacity for the nation, and also implemented national tsunami education and training programs.
Bushfire Arson Prevention
The Australian Government is committed to working with the states and territories, fire and police agencies and the criminal justice system to develop a national approach to reducing and preventing bushfire arson. In 2009 the Attorney-General established an annual National Forum for the Prevention of Bushfire Arson to promote more effective and collaborative means of preventing and deterring bushfire arson across Australia. Recommendations from these forums have lead to a National Work Plan to Reduce Bushfire Arson in Australia, a nationally accredited Wildfire Arson Investigation Course being established and the development of the Bushfire Arson Prevention website as a community awareness tool.
National Aerial Firefighting
In the 2007-08 Budget, the Australian Government committed $41.2 million over four years, under the National Aerial Firefighting Arrangements, to more efficiently and effectively address the risk of bushfire across Australia. Following the 2009 Victorian bushfire crisis, funding was increased to $14 million annually to extend Australia’s aerial fire fighting capability.
The Attorney-General’s Department coordinates national forums that bring together representatives from state and territory governments, emergency management agencies, peak bodies and technology providers to share their expertise and insights. The forums consider new and emerging technologies that could be harnessed to assist with prevention, preparedness, response and recovery to natural disasters. As a result of these forums, stakeholders gain a better understanding of the methods and tools available within Australia.
Previous forums include the National Forum for the Prevention of Bushfire Arson, the National Forum on Emergency Warnings to the Community and the National Flood Forum.
Telephone-based Emergency Warnings
Emergency Alert was launched in December 2009 by the Australian Attorney-General and the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services. This warning system sends voice messages to fixed telephone lines and text messages to mobile telephones. The Commonwealth committed $26.3 million toward the development of Emergency Alert and is dedicated to assisting states and territories to further enhance the warning system capabilities.
Urban Search and Rescue
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is a specialist resource that assists victims who have been trapped or affected by structural collapses. In 2005 the USAR Capability Development project was endorsed and equipment was purchased by Emergency Management Australia, part of the Attorney-General’s Departments portfolio, and delivered to the states and territories as part of the project.
For more information visit the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) page.